I’m a mother that won’t get to see my moms, my daughters, or my grandkids. Harrumph! 😕
What’s worse? I’m fighting the Green-Eyed Monster–jealous of those who get to hug and love on my mom, my daughters, and my grandkids.
Isnt’ that TERRIBLE?!?!?!
Jealousy is an ugly thing. I’d much rather call it discontentment. That sounds better—though I’m sure discontentment is still bad…
But jealousy. It’s too close to other ugly words. Covetousness. Envy. Greed.
Eeeee-gad! I’m dancing dangerously close to the seven deadlies, aren’t I?
Lessons From the Word
As usually happens when I struggle with a known sin, the Lord gave me a lesson in Scripture. I love it and hate it at the same time. Love it—because He’s so gentle in how He teaches me. Hate it—because I can’t argue with Him. His lessons are so utterly precise, so spot on.
Enter. Tutorial on Jealousy.
“Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the ‘tent of meeting.’ Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses.” Exodus 33:7-9
When I read this passage, I thought, Why did the pillar of cloud only come down on the tent of meeting when Moses met with God?
I actually felt sorry for the rest of the camp who met with God but didn’t get the Cloud. Think about it. How do you feel when you pray and it feels like God doesn’t hear you? Of course, God does hear you—just as He heard ANYONE that went to inquire of Him at the tent of meeting.
But only Moses got the Cloud. Harrumph again. 😕
The Israelites’ Response
So, were the Israelites jealous—pardon me, discontent—because God descended on Moses with a cloud and not on them? You judge by their response:
“Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to his tent. The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.” Exodus 33:10-11
This grumbling bunch of Israelites stood and worshiped at their private tents when they saw God’s cloud descend and speak to Moses at the tent of meeting. That doesn’t sound like jealousy OR discontentment.
That sounds like AWE.
Embracing the Big Picture
Let’s face it, most of the Israelites’ experience in the Wilderness seemed to be negative. So, when we see them do something RIGHT, we should take note. Why were they awed this time, but whining, complaining, and rebelling so many other times?
I think the answer lies in their FOCUS and POSITION.
- They were focused on Yahweh.
- They were positioned where God wanted them.
When I’m focused on Yahweh, my spirit soars, and I’m awed by His majesty, His sovereignty, His work in my life and the lives of those around me–even if my parents kids and grandkids are 2,000 miles away. It’s only when I turn my focus inward, becoming self-absorbed, and then compare myself with others that I am discontent.
When I’m positioned where God wants me, life may not be easy, but I can live with an abiding peace and assurance that He is with me, carrying me, and fighting battles for me. It’s only when I chafe at His direction that confusion sets in and makes the things I don’t have seem more desirous than God’s best for me.
Seeing Beyond Ourselves
As I contemplated Moses in his God-Clouded tent, I pondered the heavy responsibilities that accompanied that awesome privilege. I pondered the Israelites, who still feared this God they’d only begun to know—a God who had been silent for 400 years and then suddenly delivered them from the Egyptians and into a desert.
Every individual in that desert—including Moses—was coming to know Yahweh, beginning to cultivate a relationship with the God who burned atop Mt. Sinai, led the nation with a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night.
Each soul had to wrestle with an individual faith. Even Moses.
The tent, the cloud, the desert—each was about more than just one person, BUT every detail was God’s individual work with every person somehow.
Just as my parents, my daughters, and my grandchildren—living 2,000 miles away—affect us all BUT are God’s individual work with every person somehow. My mom, parents-of-the-heart, each daughter, son-in-love, and grandbaby. My husband. Me. Even those who get to love on my family in my absence–our God works in each life through this common event, a singular work that only He knows each one NEEDS.
Why covet the work in someone else’s life? Why envy an experience God knows is not for my BEST?
Killing the Green-Eyed Beast
To kill the green-eyed monster of jealousy, I must keep my eyes focused on my gift-giving Father.
“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:13
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.” James 1:17-18
My focus must remain on Yahweh, trusting my position to be exactly where He wants me in this moment.
- Each soul at Sinai had to wrestle with an individual faith. Even Moses.
- To kill the green-eyed beast, I will keep my eyes on the gift-giving Father.
- My focus remains on Yahweh, trusting I am exactly where He wants me in this moment.
- Is there something that’s hard for you to give up and accept its absence as “God’s best” for you?